Interviewing the Australian Exchanges

by Sadie Hertz

The four Australian are packing up to head back home on December 2nd. Before they left, we asked for their opinions on some of the aspects of this big adventure…

How was the trip from Australia to America?

Taylor: “It wasn’t that bad! Most of us managed to sleep a little bit, so the time seemed to go pretty fast. The only bad experience was when one of the air hostesses accidentally knocked my cup of coffee into my backpack! Thankfully there wasn’t much left in the cup, so it wasn’t that bad.”

Clara: “Well, it wasn’t an easy trip to say the least; it was very long, and we did get into a little trouble at Dallas airport travelling to Cleveland because it was a rush time but, nevertheless, we made it here.”

Aerin: “The trip was very long and stressful but mostly exciting as none of the Australian girls had been to America. We were all nervous about not having an adult with us but managed to think quickly on our feet when a problem occurred.”

What’s the hardest transition?

Taylor: “I think the weather has been the hardest transition, as right now Australia is heading into summer, so it was really weird coming from hot weather to snow and cold. I also can’t understand Fahrenheit, so that’s pretty confusing!”

Clara: “Settling into a new school was probably the hardest. The girls at HB are amazing, and I definitely will be staying in contact with them when we leave, but finding your way around on your own and with different teaching styles in class was hard to adjust to.”

Aerin: “For me the hardest transition was being away from my family. However, the Bruening’s have been very welcoming and made the transition easy.”

What is HB like compared to your school?

Taylor: “Ravo [Ravenswood] and HB share quite a few similarities, but there a lot of things that are different. For us at Ravo, our school is more focused on projects such as assignments or assessments, where as at HB, homework and in-class quizzes determine a lot. Also, our schedule systems are very different, so I am finding it challenging to get used that, otherwise our classes are very similar!”

Clara: “HB is definitely an academic focused school which is great to see the students so committed to their learning and grades. They also have a sit down hot lunch in a dining hall which compared to Ravenswood is very different since we bring our own lunches.”

Aerin: “HB is a lot more indoors than Ravenswood, and the students and teachers seem to have a stronger relationship. I have also noticed that HB is quieter and not as busy as Ravenswood.”

What’s some things you’ve experienced since you’ve arrived?

Taylor: “The day after we arrived my host sister Katy took me to cedar point for Halloweekend, and I absolutely adored it! All of the rides were really great but I’d have to say Millenium Force was my favorite. Last weekend we went to a Cavs game, and it was so good. I think by the time I go home, I might be a Cavs supporter!”

Clara: “I’ve been fortunate enough to see the city of Cleveland and also go to New York for the weekend which was amazing because I’ve never been there before. We’ve also seen many football and soccer games which was cool because the atmosphere and sport is a lot different to Australian high school sports.”

Aerin: “I have experienced a deer on the side of the road which was new for me as we do not have wild deer. The houses are a lot older than in Sydney, and there aren’t as many apartments.”

Have you learned a lot from your experience thus far?

Taylor: “Speaking from a personal perspective I think I’ve learnt a lot about myself from this exchange as it really takes a lot of grit to travel halfway around the world for 5 weeks. I’ve also learnt a lot about America as well as a lot about American society and American daily life.”

Clara: “I’ve learnt independence, being away from home for such a long time, you need to learn how to manage your own needs rather than relying on others. I’ve also gained courage in making new friends and finding my way around a new school in a different country. Culture is also a huge part of this exchange so experiencing and taking in the American culture has been a great experience.”

Aerin: “I have learnt more about the American culture and how Australians stereotype Americans to be loud and consume more food. However, this is not what I have experienced and it has made me rethink what we think of Americans.”

What are you most excited about being here?

Taylor: “I’m super excited to experience HB and meet everyone and get to know lots of new people. Of course, coming from Australia, I am also extremely keen to experience Thanksgiving as we do not celebrate it at home.”

Clara: “The food. I’m a big foodie so trying all the different restaurants and candy has been sooo exciting and delicious. Also, just seeing different parts of America with my exchange as a local guide is super easy for me to see the more normal way of an American lifestyle.”

Aerin: “I am very excited for Thanksgiving as this is a holiday we do not celebrate in Australia, and I am looking forward to the food and seeing what the customs are!”

While it was great to have them for these short five weeks, we are all wishing them a safe travel back!